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Top 10 post-flop Texas Hold'em poker strategies

19 November 2018

By Tadas Peckaitis
Recreational players can be a bit of a wild card when it comes to post-flop play.

Recreational players can be a bit of a wild card when it comes to post-flop play. (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

A sizeable chunk of strategy in Texas Hold'em revolves around pre-flop hand selection and making your decisions before the flop. However, poker would be a far simpler game if it all ended pre-flop and hands were simply turned over and allowed to realize their full equity every single time.

Once the pre-flop wars are over, the post-flop stage comes into play. The reality is, many beginner players do make quite a few mistakes with their hand selection before the flop, but the gravity of these mistakes becomes even more pronounced post-flop.

So, what is the best way to take advantage of these strategic errors and increase your win rate against inexperienced players during the post-flop stage? See below for the answers.

10. Vary your bet sizes
While experienced players may pick up on your betting tendencies, recreational players aren’t likely to pay enough attention to figure them out. This means you can vary your bet sizes depending on the board and quality of your hand without losing any value. As long as it works and they aren’t adjusting to your post-flop plays, feel free to vary your bet sizes quite transparently, especially in live games, because you can get away with it.

9. Apply pressure on difficult boards
Recreational players aren’t usually very good in situations where they have a fairly strong hand but can’t figure out your range. So, applying pressure on difficult boards can be a very profitable strategy. For example, if you’re defending the big blind against someone you perceive as tight, a middling, connected flop should be your "go" signal. If you have any kind of equity, throwing in an occasional check-raise followed by a turn bet will make them squirm even more.

8. Avoid tricky spots
A more experienced player will likely have a better sense of how to deal with various tricky spots after the flop. However, you’re probably best off avoiding these as much as possible when dealing with recreational players, simply because you’ll have so many better situations to take advantage of that you don’t really need to get involved in these.

For example, if you have pocket kings and the flop comes ace-high with some potential draws, you might want to stick around against an experienced player. Against a recreational player showing aggression, however, you’ll be beat enough of the time that simply giving up might be the best play in the long run.

A majority of recreational players aren’t aggressive enough.

A majority of recreational players aren’t aggressive enough. (photo by Osan Air Base)

7. Expect the unexpected
Recreational players can be a bit of a wild card when it comes to post-flop play. Before the flop, their goal is largely to get to the flop and see if they can connect. Once that flop is out there, though, there is no telling what they might do.

Sometimes, you’ll face a check-raise all-in in the unlikeliest of positions. Sometimes, they’ll throw away a monster draw for a small bet simply because they “aren’t feeling it.” Recreational players think about the game differently, and more experienced players should tap into that mindset to really understand and fully exploit the situation. You’ll likely need to deviate from the GTO approach and adopt an exploitative strategy when dealing with truly recreational players.

6. Avoid bluffing into calling stations
Aggression is good in poker and, in general, you should stay as aggressive as possible. However, when dealing with recreational players after the flop, you need to be aware who you’re up against. There is very little point in trying to bluff someone who will call you down with a third pair.

So, don’t get carried away and don’t let your ego interfere. Trying to bluff a player who doesn’t quite understand what it is you’re trying to represent will rarely end well for you.

5. Be mindful of general population tendencies
At most online poker sites, there are certain population tendencies that apply across the tables of the same limit. Even if you’re flying “blind” (i.e., don’t have a big enough data sample to utilize your HUD properly just yet), you can quickly figure out some of the most important population tendencies.

These are very important in spots where you might be deciding, for example, whether to make a call or not with a drawing hand with players behind still to act. If the general tendency is to just overcall or fold, with very infrequent three-bets, then you can make those speculative post-flop calls more liberally, knowing that it is unlikely you’ll be shut down by someone still to act unless they have an absolute monster hand.

4. No need to be too fancy
Just like many recreational players will pay way too much to chase their draws, they’ll often under-bet in spots where you’re the one drawing. There is no need to be too fancy in these spots and bloat the pot with check-raises. Simply take your odds and try to make your hands at the discounted price you’re given.

3. Learn to navigate multi-way pots
A dream scenarios for a more experienced player is to find him or herself at a table filled with recreational players. This is pretty much a dream-come-true scenario for every serious player. However, the table dynamics are likely to deviate from what you might be used to, leading to a number of players frequently seeing the flop. Mastering effective multi-way strategies will help you avoid awkward spots and better realize your full potential in many spots.

2. Charge them heavily for their draws
Recreational players aren’t quite aware of things such as pot odds, implied odds and stack-to-pot ratios. This means you can charge them heavily when you figure out they’re drawing to a straight or flush by betting or raising an amount that forces them to put in way more chips than they should. By doing this, you’re effectively increasing your EV every single time, regardless of results in individual hands.

1. Take full advantage of position
A majority of recreational players aren’t aggressive enough. If they are a pre-flop raiser and they miss the flop, they’ll often make a single stab and give up if they meet any resistance. Be aware of these tendencies and take full advantage of those situations where you’re in position and can afford to float one card to take the pot away on later streets. Using HUD stats provided by poker tracking software can help you determine which players are good targets for these types of plays.
Top 10 post-flop Texas Hold'em poker strategies is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
 

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Tadas Peckaitis
Tadas Peckaitis has been a professional poker player, coach and author for almost a decade. He is a manager and head coach at mypokercoaching.com where he shares his experience, and poker strategy tips.
Tadas plays poker, mostly online, but also manages to play live events while travelling through Europe and the U.S.
He is a big fan of personal effectiveness and always trying to do more. Tadas regularly shares his knowledge about both of these topics with his students, and deeply enjoys it.
Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, or visit www.mypokercoaching.com
Tadas Peckaitis
Tadas Peckaitis has been a professional poker player, coach and author for almost a decade. He is a manager and head coach at mypokercoaching.com where he shares his experience, and poker strategy tips.
Tadas plays poker, mostly online, but also manages to play live events while travelling through Europe and the U.S.
He is a big fan of personal effectiveness and always trying to do more. Tadas regularly shares his knowledge about both of these topics with his students, and deeply enjoys it.
Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, or visit www.mypokercoaching.com